DIY Consumer Insights

Take a minute and search google (is that redundant?) for your company, your ceo, or a brand you work on. Add words like "hate" "evil" "corrupt", etc. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Are you surprised by what you found? Maybe. Maybe not. Now, search for "cluetrian manifesto". Click on the first link, and bookmark it (i.e. add it to your account). Trust me, you'll want to go back to this over and over again, if you don't already.

We'll use thesis # 28 as the basis for our first consumer
insights lesson:

  • Most marketing programs are based on the fear that the market might see what's really going on inside the company.
I love this statement for its simplicity and profundity, and it gives us our first lesson:

  • Be skeptical of any company for which you work. Most of us (myself included) get so excited about the companies we work for that we lose all judgment and ability to have a healthy dose of skepticism. In other words, always assume that your target is smarter and less convinced than you are of the greatness of the product or service you work on. On the flip side, you should be convinced of the greatness of your product or service. If you're not, quit. Immediately. No amount of great marketing can make up for a terrible or mediocre product.
Now, think about the product or service you work on and make a list of reasons why your target might not believe what you're telling her via your website, print ads, TV ads, etc. This is a good starting point to deep consumer understanding.

So what do you think? Is this something you already do? Is this helpful? Why? Why not?

Next week: DIY observational techniques.


Stan Lee said...

Firstly: I'm loving the new Peanuts. A vast improvement over the old here's a few fun ads approach. Keep up the good work.

Secondly: This is an interesting post. In my experience most creatives are sceptical about brands and product. Suits are not. Perhaps if they were briefs would be much more insightful.

L.L. said...

I play my part on my stage. I tell what I can to form the perfect answer. But that answer cannot come before all are ready to hear. So I tell what I can to form the perfect answer.

Littlejohn said...

l.l. (a.k.a. Log Lady) We get it. (Or at least I do). You like leaving quotes from Twin Peaks on people's blogs. Give me a reason not to delete your random comments. What is your purpose?

Tom Tom said...

I sort of like log lady (l.l.) it's like we have a ghost on the blog and nobody quite knows why she's there. Maybe it can become a trademark of the site and become a web destination because of it. Random weirdo, I salute you.

will cote said...

before littejohn's post i was going to copy and paste the quote into google and look it up a la Twiller's post.
now that i know its from twin peaks, maybe i should buy it for my friend for christmas.
damn! it worked!

Littlejohn said...

Willerer - Almost every client I work on, I buy into (eventually). I actually start using the product or service, in my personal life despite never doing so in the past. It start to truly believe the messages I'm spreading. I think to myself, "if people only knew how great the company was, they would surely buy this or that." But I have an unfair advantage of working on a brand, and knowing it in an intimate way. A way the average consumer never will. They can never feel like I feel.

So I wonder, what would my work be like if I were more of a cynic. Would it be more powerful? More honest? Or would it come off less genuine? More wishy washy. What do you guys think?

Can anyone think of campaign that seems to approach the product from a cynic's point of view?

T. Willerer said...


I'm not sure your work has to reflect your cynicism, rather it should help you get in touch with your consumer group in a more real and powerful way. By glimpsing the counter argument you will hopefully make your own argument stronger.

As for campaigns, there are a few, but most campaigns car companies are approaching things from a cynics point of view, either directly or indirectly (i.e. google Pontiac as a subtle campaign that says, "we know you don't fully trust us, so google our name and find the information on your own".)

Good question, though. Any other thoughts?

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